Although it was originally proposed in 2012, it was not until 2016 that the European General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR passed through the permissions procedure along the legal channels of the European Parliament and Council.
It took another 2 years for the regulation to actually take any effect.
This was a hard-won law structure, which was derived with the sole purpose of exerting a better control over organizational data liabilities. This control extends to all organizations who want to sell their goods or services across the platforms of the European Union.
The EU has always been extremely conscientious about data privacy regulations.
However, GDPR is the ultimate benchmark for a systematic proposal with real consequences for violating data security rules.
Any company caught with a breach of the terms will have a 20 million euros fine liability or can lose up to 4% of their gross global revenue. That ought to hurt. Yet, GDPR rules extend beyond data privacy breach.
The purpose of GDPR is to establish:
Enhanced rights of personal data privacy
Increased data protection duties
Reporting of data breach declared mandatory
Punitive consequences for noncompliance with the GDPR rules
Since the punishing consequences of noncompliance can reach up to multimillion-dollar lawsuits, the media inadvertently focusses on just this information on the GDPR. This almost eclipses the fact that the primary objective of the proposal was to increase data security.
However, let's face the harsh truth.
Without a uniform standard of regulatory obligation, customers have to rely on the ethical values of the companies to enforce the security on their sensitive data. There is no direct control for the customers in this set up.
Yet, the sensitive data that the customers feed into the portal remains vulnerable if the company waives its responsibility. The company is covered by the customer’s consent on the policy. Where is the company’s accountability in this scenario?
The media's alarmist agenda notwithstanding, there is a very real need for organizations to focus on the ways to better comply with the GDPR rules today and not just to avoid the consequences.
Here we discuss how you can improve compliance for your workplace and its direct benefits for your company!
Let’s dive right in!
1. Improve customer relationship management
As a first line of effort, you should start by mapping all personal data flow from your customers that are coming into your business.
The aim of this map is to answer vital questions. With this effort, you will get a clear picture of:
Where is all the data collecting
Who has access to this source of information and
What are the immediate risks to this sensitive data
Segregate the customers’ personal information to only keep those that have a direct impact on the customers’ projected relationship with the company.
Think of it in this way, the more data you store, the more vulnerable your company remains under a breach attack.
Why burden yourself with the added cost of data storage when it just reduces the effectiveness of your GDPR compliance strategy?
Delete the personal information that is irrelevant for your customer relationship management and leaves you vulnerable to GDPR noncompliance. In the process, you are better equipped to personalize your customer relationship efforts according to individual customers. This gives you a direct boost in performance.
2. Augment your cybersecurity
There is a responsibility in play here because even a hint of laxity in your cybersecurity strategy can have catastrophic consequences for the customers.
The costs of lawsuits against data breaches can be significantly draining on the company's resources. It also brings negative promotions that can severely harm brand images. The business will not survive the huge disrepute that follows.
In fact, it just makes sense to take your data privacy concerns more seriously. When your entire business operations have more assets on the digital space than off it, you need to be at least more equipped in cybersecurity than your company’s building security.
GDPR just puts an added pressure on companies to design workflows with more conscious security intent.
The legislation has made it mandatory for organizations to have a clear identifiable data strategy. Enforcing this in good faith can have direct benefits for the company as well.
Any successful business cannot remain isolated from their own IT infrastructure, especially not in situations where the format of your business ensures that critical data from EU citizens are pouring into your IT departments every day.
Without controlling the IT department with an enforceable data protection and security-monitoring directive, you are leaving your clients unprotected.
You are also leaving your organization with major security gaps, which increases the attack surface for potential cybercrimes in the future.
3. Update your documentation
Privacy policies were in place even before the GDPR legislation came into practice. However, pre-checked boxes on these policy directives just made a mockery of the process of customer confirmations.
Any consent in that scenario was just implied and not a conscious choice.
GDPR makes it an ethical responsibility for organizations to revisit such policies and make adjustments where required. You have to be more responsible towards your disclosures to your customers if you intend to contest any lawsuits or fraudulent claims in the future.
Data breach is simply non-negotiable. You will have to ensure explicit consent from your customers.
Updating your documentation is not meant to cover your own vulnerabilities only.
GDPR makes organizations duty-bound to think about the customers' benefits when you reform your privacy statements and disclosures now.
On the more positive side, when you declare your organization GDPR compliant, it evokes an immediate trust in the brand image. This declaration carries much more weight compared to the expensive trust building campaigns that you keep running on paid media.
4. Reduce your maintenance costs
In your efforts to comply better with GDPR, your organization can actually reduce the cost of maintaining data. You can also actively retire those tools that are now obsolete in the face of the new security directives you put into place.
You don’t have to keep carrying Data inventory software that no longer serves any purpose and legislation applications that have now been rendered redundant.
In fact, you can streamline all irrelevant data stored in silos or any other formats inconsistent with the levels of GDPR security. That just significantly reduces the cost of data storage.
If you have a maintenance infrastructure and invest in human resources to carry the data maintenance for your firm, you can cut back immediately. The resources can also be redirected to other departments to get a new lease of life on your current human resource arsenal.
These are direct cost benefits for the company in the immediate present. These are additional to the increased security of your company against future lawsuits and ethical censure due to any possible data breaches.
5. Align with evolved technology
You have to audit your current technology and overhaul it to match the standards set by the GDPR compliance.
By extension, your company will have to step towards network and endpoint security upgrades.
On the surface, you are being compelled to invest to update to the latest in security technologies but this migration can serve a double purpose
With virtualization of your data security, cloud computing assistance and advanced technology of IoT (Internet of things) and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies for your employees, you are now in a better position to manage the increasing demand of data for your business.
Secondly, you can now offer your customers augmented services and incorporate processes for increased business efficiency. There is a direct improvement in the production and quality of your products translating into guaranteed profit surges in the future.
Embrace innovative solutions to ease your data security process. For instance, you can include third-party management tools to keep your data under 24-hour vigilance. Automate your data monitoring process to remove any elements of surprises. The system can consistently log any data transfers in real time.
These systems can constantly track the integrity of all files, documents and folders saved in your network, the cloud and other endpoint applications. Any hint of data breach will trigger an alert or notification to give you the time to avert the data breach before any real harm to the company.
Data is quite possibly the most valuable currency we have today.
The digital economy is highly dependent on the viability of data. In the face of such an increased value, the attention you place on data security can only be limited by your conscience.
However, when a regulatory body sets a standard, it strives to improve the quality of efforts for the entire generation.
If you think in this regard, GDPR has been invaluable in enforcing the need for regulatory frameworks for organizations. It strives to improve the standard of data management policies across the global fabric.
This article is a guest blog written by Atreyee Chowdhury. To contribute a guest post to Workast.com, please complete the expression of interest form here.